So. I know y’all must have heard about this Paula Deen situation, but in case you missed it I’m here to help. First off, let me just say that I’m not being entirely sarcastic in my headline. My parents taught me to define racism under very specific guidelines, and not to confuse it with prejudice or ignorance. Racism is related to those things but it is a far more powerful act involving certain power and privilege. It’s the ability to take prejudice and build an educational system out of it, or build a corporation, or create marketing techniques. It’s a heavier act, and it’s different. It is not, for example, ‘just’ using the word ‘nigger.’ Sidenote: I’ve said before that I don’t like writing out the phrase the n-word. I’d do it if I thought people actually went around using that phrase in the privacy of their own homes, but since I’m pretty sure Paula Deen and many others out there have never actually referred to any black person as a ‘the n-word’ I’m gonna go ahead and make us all uncomfortable by writing out the actual word: ‘nigger.’ Kinda sucks, doesn’t it? Anywho, Paula Deen, like many Americans, has used the word nigger but she (and certain members of the media) wants us all to know that she doesn’t condone racism. Click inside to learn more.
Jezebel has the report:
The deposition from the lawsuit against Paula Deen for being the racist worst (paraphrasing) is now public — and it ain’t pretty.
As we now know, butter’s head bitch Paula Deen, gave a videotaped deposition as part of a discrimination lawsuit she’s facing from Lisa Jackson, the former general manager of her Savannah restaurant. Jackson says that “racially discriminatory attitudes pervade” Uncle Bubba’s Oyster House, the restaurant Deen owns with her brother, and that she was subjected to “violent, sexist, and racist behavior” during five years working for Deen’s various businesses.
For her part in the deposition, Deen did say she talked about her brother’s dream barbie plantation wedding based on a restaurant she went to that “represented a certain era in America.” Yes, she’s talking about the period immediately surrounding the Civil War. However, she also said she knew people might “read something into it” if she used exclusively black servers at the wedding, and she just didn’t want to deal with the hassle of it all. Such a hassle to have people think you’re racist when you’re just trying to celebrate “the look and professionalism” of slaves!
LMAoooo. OMG, you can’t make this ish up. Now here is what I mean about the difference between prejudice and racism. If Paula Deen had ‘just’ said the word ‘nigger’ I’d say she was prejudice, or ignorant, or a product of her environment (or all of the above), but I’d not be so inclined to call her a racist. Until she uses her prejudice to actually do something, I’m not sure she’s a racist. However, if this accusation from her former employee is true– and racism and racist attitudes actually became a part of her business and business ethic– then things get a little tricky. Here are a few more excerpts that Jezebel pulled from the deposition:
Though she denied having used the N word when discussing the wedding waitstaff, Deen admitted to Billips that she used the term in the past.
“Yes, of course,” Deen replied when asked if she ever said the word.
Deen said she employed the term when telling her husband about an incident “when a black man burst into the bank that I was working at and put a gun to my head.”
“I didn’t feel real favorable towards him,” Deen said of the alleged bank robber.
But wait! There’s more:
Deen also admitted she was “sure” that she’d used the word since that incident. Specifically, Deen said she “probably” used the word while “repeating” a “conversation between blacks.” She also said that her family, including Hiers, do not discriminate against any race and object to the N word “being used in any cruel or mean behavior.” Jackson’s attorney responded by asking Deen to explain how the N word might be used in a “non-mean way.”
“We hear a lot of things in the kitchen, things that they — that black people will say to each other,” Deen said. “If we are relaying something that was said, a problem that we’re discussing, that’s not said in a mean way.”
Billips also asked Deen whether she thought “jokes” containing the N word would be hurtful. Deen said she was unsure.
“That’s kind of hard. Most — most jokes are about Jewish people, rednecks, black folks. Most jokes target — I don’t know. I didn’t make up the jokes, I don’t know,” said Deen. “They usually target, though, a group. Gays or straights, black, redneck, you know, I just don’t know — I just don’t know what to say. I can’t, myself, determine what offends another person.”
Though she said she does not tell “racial” jokes herself, Deen said she was “sure” members of her family have told jokes that contained the N word and that her husband “is constantly telling me jokes.” Billips asked whether Deen is “offended at all by those jokes.”
“No, because it’s my husband,” she said.
What I like about the Jezebel piece is that they speak to Paula Deen’s particular ‘brand of racism’ and I think that phrase is perfect. There are, sadly, myriad ‘brands’ of racism in this country and Paula Deen’s (if you consider her a racist) is just one of them.
I’m not shocked by this report, but I think it’ll be interesting to see how different media outlets spin it. People magazine, for example, wants us to know that Paula Deen totally does not condone racism, and other publications will say Paula is the worst racist ever in the history of racism. I actually think Paula Deen is typical, because I think a lot of white people say ‘nigger’ behind closed doors (or behind what they think are closed doors). The part where she talked about liking the look of blacks dressed professionally and serving people? Yes, that sounds hella racist… and at the same time I think it points to the fact that many people have an ‘image’ of a particular racial group with which they are most comfortable. If I had the balls to do it (lol)… I’d suggest that many people ‘prefer’ their black men, for example, in a very particular way.
I sorta, casually hinted at this on our Throwback Kanye West post when I talked about some of his lyrics. When he references the Cosbys in Can’t Tell Me Nothing, he’s pointing to the fact that educated, funny, family-friendly, upper middle-class, professional blacks are the preferred ‘brand’ of blacks in America and ya know what? He’s not wrong. So yeah sure. Maybe Paula Deen’s the worst of the racist worst. But I’m more interested in the fact that she represents an entire culture– our culture– of prejudice and ridiculousness that then builds systems of racism everywhere. She may be the villain right now, but she is by no means the real problem. IMO.
Have y’all been following this story? What are your thoughts? Is Paula five seconds away from coming out with one of those ‘apology’ statements, and if so… then what?0